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What They Had (2018)

Director:
Elizabeth Chomko

COUNTRY
USA

Genre
Drama

NORWEGIAN TITLE
What They Had

RUNNING TIME
101 minutes

Producer:
Albert Berger
Ron Yerxa
Andrew Duncan
Tyler Jackson
Bill Holderman
Keith Kjarval
Alex Saks

Screenwriter:
Elizabeth Chomko


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Bridget "Bitty" Ertz Hilary Swank
Nicholas "Nicky" Everhardt Michael Shannon
Norbert Everhardt Robert Forster
Ruth Everhardt Blythe Danner
Emma Ertz Taissa Farmiga
Eddie Ertz Josh Lucas -
Mary Sarah Sutherland -
Dr. Zoe Aimee Garcia -
David Jay Montepare -

 

Review

As a story and visualization of the onset and development of Alzheimer's Disease, this film from first-time writer/director Elizabeth Chomko is as thoughtprovoking and heartrending as Iris. The film is a truthful and multilateral look at how the roles and mechanisms within a family is challenged and perhaps even forever changed when a parent, in this case the mother, no longer can conceal her illness. The portrait of the relationship between the ageing married couple is particularly poignant, thanks in large to a couple of beautiful, perceptive performances from the two veterans Blythe Danner and Robert Forster. The film is less impressive when trying to incorporate a subplot involving the problems the daughter of the family (Hilary Swank) is having in her own marriage, and how she seeks confirmation in an outsider. There's a sense of too meticulous plotting in the film's final third, which may indicate that Chomko has more talent directing and dealing with actors than she has writing. Some of the best scenes in here are altercations between all four members of the family scenes which quickly could have come off as stilted and/or overplayed, but which in What They Had have a pureness and spontaneity to them. Also with Michael Shannon, as the more brash brother, and Taissa Farmiga, as Swank's daughter who has her own scripted issues.

Copyright 18.03.2021 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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